ECOWAS hails return of Malian president

Aug. 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- ECOWAS welcomed the return of the interim president of Mali but also said it was ready to send a military force into the country to help restore order.

Interim President Dioncounda Traore returned to Mali last week from Paris, where he was recovering from wounds suffered during an attack by pro-coup demonstrators.

In a national address, he stressed the importance of taking unified action regarding security concerns in the country.

Tuareg rebels in the north of the country had fought alongside pro-government forces during last year's civil war in Libya. They've fought in Mali alongside militants associated with al-Qaida. Rebel factions in northern Mali declared autonomy after a military coup uprooted the previous civilian government.

The Economic Community of West African States, in a statement, welcomed Traore's return to the leadership position in Mali. The commission said it took a positive note of his resolve to oversee the development of a government of national unity.

"While expressing its support for President Dioncounda Traore in his new endeavors, the ECOWAS commission wishes to reiterate its readiness to deploy its standby force in support of the Government of Mali, as soon as the request in this direction is made," the bloc said in a statement from Ivory Coast.

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